Almost two thirds of Yorkshire’s top SMEs are risking lower rankings in internet mobile search results following Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ algorithm update, according to research by Harrogate digital PR agency Appeal.
The internet search engine announced in February that it would be expanding its ranking criteria to include mobile-friendliness, and the key change comes in on Tuesday (April 21).
Of the 100 Yorkshire business websites analysed by Appeal, only 35 per cent were mobile-friendly.
“Even business to business firms that don’t trade online should be concerned about this update,” said Appeal’s managing director, Paul Snape, who also co-founded the UK’s first regional online business news service TheBusinessDesk.com.
“We increasingly work with clients to use media and content to help their search rankings and drive leads through organic and paid search, and ignoring such a major and well-publicised update could reduce your competitive advantage in search results,” he said.
Appeal said that the required update would only take a few hours for many websites, but that for some older sites it may be as well to start from scratch.
Its research was prompted by a flurry of enquiries from clients, a number of which invest in SEO PR campaigns to drive traffic and sales enquires through local search results.
“Getting to grips with the impact media relations and PR has on search is the most exciting opportunity for media agencies in years, and we now work hand in hand with SEO and paid search experts on a daily basis.
“But all the hard work and investment in digital can be undermined by poor housekeeping; it’s important to keep up to date and maintain your competitive advantage,” said Mr Snape.
Companies concerned about their own website’s compliance are advised to use Google’s testing tool that can be found online, or to take advice from their web designer and SEO consultant.
“Think about how you use the web to research potential suppliers, find products and share your views, and then ask yourself whether you are as good as you could be online, starting with meeting Google’s well-publicised rule changes,” he said.